Snorkling Trip to Koh Rok
17:41 | damen Thailand one comment |
Today Martijn had his birthday, so we celebrated this with a nice speedboat trip to the Island of Koh Rok, which is south of Koh Lanta and famous for it's snorkeling. For this we had to get up early and were picked up with the speedboat from our beach at 8h30. After picking up several other people we headed for Koh Rok and arrived there around 10 for the first 40 minutes snorkeling. The water was nice warm (30 degrees celcius) and the visibility also ok (>10 meter). We had in total three 40 minute snorkeling sessions, so we were able to see a lot.
After the first two times snorkeling we had already seen lot's of clown fish
, moray eels
(very big one swimming and a tiny one in the rocks), porcupine fish
, trumpet fish
, parrot fish
, too many trigger fish
for my comfort etc. It was also a nice way for Martijn to do some apnea diving again, because it really had been a long time
After seeing all these nice creatures under water it was time for lunch, and our captain of the speedboat turned out to be also a good cook and host, so we got fine food on the Island of Koh Rok. Here we discovered that it was also possbile to camp here under the supervision of the Koh Rok National Park Rangers, who lived permanently on the island.
After the refreshing lunch we had some time to look around on the island and enjoyed the fabalous beach. It was really amazing, the sand was extremely soft and 10 meters from the waterline the coral began. Here we also did some snorkeling and were even lucky enough to see a stone fish
. Furthermore there were again lot's of Clown Fish
. What did irritate us was some Thai or Korean people who were walking on the coral. These were the same ones in the photo above with the life jackets. Manu made clear that they should not do that, and after that they seemed to keep in line.
There were also a lot of hermit crabs
(Pagurus Bernhardus) on the beach, which were very funny as they run away and hide if you come near.
After this we had our last snorkeling, this time is a place where again there were lot's of moray eels
. After three times 40 minutes snorkeling it was enough and we went back to Koh Lanta
. We just put the first persons on the beach and had some miles to do as a big rainstorm started
Thus we were completely soaked as we arrived at our beach and were really very happy that our bungalow had warm water
So, due to the rain we could not enjoy the nice sea food bbq that we had planned for tonight, so we decided to have diner at the Coffee Asylum
where we normally took our lunch. Somehow we missed the sign at the entrance saying they were closed for the evening, and as May and Michael knew that I had my birthday and I told them that some people were coming over they decided that they were open anyway
I must say, of the 10 people that came only one noticed the closed sign
We had some food and then we did something very cool, we let balloons up for luck. This is an old tradition on Koh Lanta and Michal and May had two balloons organized for me, so Manu and I both had one airborne. The perfect thing to do on a birthday, ain't it?
As you can see it is an almost magical sight to see the balloons go up in the sky. As soon as they gain hight you don't see the balloon as is anymore, just a golden light that slowly ascends into the sky. Really cool! After this we enjoyed the rest of the evening with drinks (if you make it to Koh Lanta try the "Blender Medley"... quite a drink!).
Beach Time and more diving
12:03 | damen Thailand eight comments |
On Saturday we took the day to relax and do absolutely nothing. In the evening there were several parties where we were invited and we went to the one at Irie's. They had live music and later on a dj turned the tables, but by then we were already gone. Further we enjoyed a nice thai massage, which is great when you have a slight breeze from over the beach and the view on the sea
We started the day with a nice breakfast at the Coffee Asylum, which kind of is our standard place to go to for breakfast and May and Michael are great hosts. There we spend the better part of the afternoon in hammocks reading.... very relaxed.
After that we walked a bit up and down the beach and had some thai food probably .... not too sure anymore what we did, but it took kind of the whole day
Oh and by the way, the sunsets are beautiful here !
On Sunday Martijn went diving again, this time to the King Cruiser Wreck, Sharks Point and Anemone Reef. Great visibility, great stuff to see:
Sea snake, again a sea turtle but this time swimming, boxfish, lot's of baracuda, lot's of moray eels, again a leopard shark, beautifill srimps, soft corals, hard corals, anemones all the eye could sea
Manu spended the day on the beach again, enjoyed a nice coconut oil massage and in the evening we sat on the beach with a american-german couple we met. Very relaxed, again
We slept in and in the afternoon we took a taxi to Lanta Old Town, where we had a look around. Then we went on to a remote beach where there were less than 10 people, including us, and enjoyed the water and small crabs.
08:18 | damen Thailand No comments |
Yesterday evening they had tiger prawn here at the bbq place, so we decided to go wild and have some. Just check the photo's guys, it is really great
Koh Lanta and diving
07:20 | damen Thailand one comment |
We arrived on Lanta Island on Wednesday after running away from Koh Phi Phi and found us a really nice place here at long beach. There are a lot of small bars and restaurants and they have the most delicious fresh fish from the bbq here.
Ofcourse Martijn has been diving two times since then, on Thursday and Friday:
Two dives at Koh Ha, there we saw lots of moray eel, porqupine fish, trumpet fish, baracuda, Tuna, sea turtle
, and during the first dive a big leopard shark
The second dive we saw the same, but also 2 very nice sea snakes.
1: 49 min / 25 meter
2: 60 min / 17,6 meter
Two dives, one at Hin Muang and the second at Hin Daeng. We went out in the speedboat, and say Mantas with both dives!!!! Great animals, we saw 4 of them. Further lots of other stuff, great diving spot.
1: 45 min / 30 meter
2: 58 min / 20 meter
The speedboat is supposedly the fastest boat on the island and was really good in getting us to the dive spot, which is a 50km trip.
Today is a dive free day and we are both lying around in hammocks, enjoying the fresh fruit shakes and the weather.Perhaps we will do some snorkling on Monday and Tuesday, before leaving for Bangkok again. Tomorrow is another dive day for Martijn, 3 more dives near a wreck.
Check also ourphoto album
for more pictures of Koh Phi Phi and Koh Lanta
koh phi phi was terrible, we moved to Koh Lanta
10:23 | damen Thailand one comment |
We arrived in Koh Phi Phi yesterday and had much trouble finding a room, the one we found was much to expensive, very dirty and had no water. On top of it Manu got very nasty stinged by bedbugs, causing big itchy blisters on her right leg
Further the island is not so nice, due to the large amount of 'Ibiza-Tourist"
No more dream destination!
Therefore we decided to move straight on to Koh Lanta, were we are now staying in the Koh Lanta Palm Beach Resort
. Much better, and here we can get a real beach time. Martijn can do some diving here with Palm Beach divers
, much more expensive but worth it!
Preparing for Island & Beaches
07:09 | damen Thailand three comments |
We are still so happy here in the Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort, but we did came to Thailand to try some of the best beaches in the World so that is what we are preparing for currently. Fortunately they have a good (free!) internet connection here, funny enough via satelite and it works good so we can search for the best places to stay.
As we started our journey we were keen on Koh Lanta, but while talking to some of the people who run the place over here we got another idea of the place. It is apperently quite big and there are really long ways between the nice spots, further it is crowded with the kind of tourists that only speak their own language and want to eat their own countries food while on holiday, no offense of course.
Then we got really enthausiastic about going to Koh Jum, which is a small rather undeveloped island where the atmosphere is not too crowded. Unfortunately the new diving center that should have started there (Blue Juice Divers
) are still closed, as they wrote in an email. So there is not much sense going there as Martijn really wants to do some diving while here.
So currently we are focussing on Koh Phi Phi Don, the famous island. The following resorts we have in focus and requested some infomation:
General Information by TravelFish on Koh PhiPhi housing
Important, a map of the place
Tropical Garden Bungalows
Harlequin Diving Center
Mosquito Diving Center
Phi Phi diving
Paradise Diving, Long Beach
Most dive centers ask 2200 bath for a two dive trip, which is about 50 Euro and therefore a very reasonable price.
06:46 | damen Thailand No comments |
We had a great night sleep here in the Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort, the food in the evening was great and after a cold beer we went to our cabin. There we enjoyed the concert of the jungle, it is really amazing how loud this can be, but it is really relaxing.
The next morning we enjoyed the pool a bit and after a quick tour of the garden we found out that our camera was really broken (see previous posts). So we decided to combine buying a new camera at the local Tesco supermall with a visit to the Tiger temple and got a pickup with driver, because here you really don't want to drive a motercycle!
After we got our new Canon Powershot 570 we were happy again and could take photo's of our trip again.
The visit to the tiger temple was really very impressive, we'll just let the photo's speak for themselves but after climbing to the top we really got some problems the day after... ouch!
Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort
06:44 | damen Thailand No comments |
I already wrote that we found our little paradise, and just to stretch the fact here a couple of photos. The resort is really magnificent, the people are really friendly, the food is the best we had so far and best of all, the prices are so ok. We pay only 800Bath a night for the bungalow with warm water and the food is also not more expensive than 50-80Bath a meal. So no reason to complain. So far we were the only ones here, but now a Australian-Danisch Couple also came. Still, with 100rai room for all of us we have our peace and quiet.
Here is our little bungalow, in the middle of a beatifull garden:
Then we had a nice garden with ponds and lots of fruit and cocosnuts:
And of course we needed a nice pool, all for ourselves with a stunning view:
Chiang Mai to Krabi
06:35 | damen Thailand No comments |
This time we really had a very good ride in the train, exactly what you can expect when travelling first class
We got our wake up call somewhere around 5:30 am and shortly afterward we received our cup of coffee to get up and awake. The train did arrive in Bangkok really good in time, so we were at the train station Hualamphong around 7am. This allowed us to do some travelling in Bangkok, and we decided to take the new subway and the sky train to see a bit of the city. Therefore we dropped of our bags at the left luggage cloak room, and were unpleasently suprised by the fact that they did not want 10bath a piece but 50, somehow referencing to a non-official looking paper telling us it had changed. As the prices on the wall were still the old prices I still don't believe them, but there was no way to argue and also 50bath a piece isn't worth the anger and discussion.
After this we took the new metro of Bangkok to get onto the sky train, and we were quite suprised because the subway is really empty, and costs a lot compared to the rest in Thailand. Funny enough they have the driverless system we are still trying to get working in Nuremberg
Good work Siemens
We soon decided that both the subway and the sky train were much too cold and got out somewhere behind the Victoria Monument, for breakfast and coffee. Amazingly the coffee is much better in Thailand than I remembered, it seems that since 2001 they all switched from nescafe to great coffee houses.
After the small breakfast we went to the river again to take a express boat to Tha Ratchawong, the pier where Chinatown is starting. And ok, just to get things straight: Chinatown in Bangkok is just way too busy, filthy and busy busy busy to enjoy it. Martijn did enjoyed a great noodle soup there, but we soon fled the place and after discovering a very nice temple that for once was not in the LP we went back to the train station to pick up our stuff and (so we thought) get the train to Don Muang Airport. One bad thing that happened is that our camera started to act funny during our walk through China Town, we thought it was just the batteries, but it did not respond anymore at all. bad bad news!
After we bought a train ticket we just missed the train of 11h40, and the next one was due to leave at 12h45. because it was an hours ride with the train we decided that we did not want to take the risk and miss our flight, so we took a taxi meter and drove to the airport. Ok, we could easily have made it with the train, but who takes the risk when flying to one of the best beach areas in the world
After we got to Krabi we got picked up by the resort and finally arrived there. It is just great and lies back in the forest, lovely place. We seem to be the only guests, but that is ok.
Chiang Mai second day
06:14 | damen Thailand No comments |
After we returned from the trekking tour we were quite tired and kept the afternoon near the pool in the guesthouse relaxing a bit.
In the evening we visited the famous night bazaar, but somehow it was not really that much fun, but we did found a shop with some beautifull temple dancer figures carved out of wood... We got a quick bite and then went home.
The last day in Chiang may was planned for doing a biking tour, but we were both quite tired and decided against it. Then we just enjoyed the time near the pool, and after breakfast we went into town again and bought the two dancing figures we found the day before. After packing them very well and sending them home we finally got our Thai present for Christmas.
In the afternoon we had to leave already and took the night train back to Bangkok, this time it was much better with the airconditioning
We also had a small meal in the train, amazingly good and that was true luxery:
Phanan Bencha Mountain Resort
13:52 | damen Thailand No comments |
Just a short note to let you know we arrived in paradise. Perhaps some photo's will follow, but so far it is way too good here to do the photo thing.
07:49 | damen Thailand one comment |
We've added some photo's to previous posts, please scroll down to have a look at it.
Trekking in Chiang Mai
14:58 | damen Thailand No comments |
Today we had to get up quite early for our trekking tour, we booked a tour which included Bamboo Raft, Elephant ride, a waterfall and some nature also
Ok, it was more of a tourist tour than trekking but it was a good way to spend the day.
We were picked up at our guesthouse around 8:30 and drove about 1,5 hour to the south, where we started with some bamboo rafting. It sounds more spectacular than it is, but we did get wet!
After this we went to the elephant trail, which was quite nice because they had a young two years old elephant who followed his mamy everywhere.
The elephants were followed by a little tour through a hill village with the local people and then we really went into the 'jungle'.
We also visited a nice waterfall and with that the tour ended.
More photo's can be found here:
First day in Chiang Mai
14:35 | damen Thailand No comments |
After rested a bit we were fit again after the long train journey and ready to discover Chiang Mai. For this we decided to walk to a market (also because Martijn needed a t-shirt) and have a look there. We somehow lost our way while looking for the market and had to take a nice tuktuk to drop us off at the market
There we were first overwhelmed with the colors and stuff they sold there. It was not really a tourist market (but don't ask us what kind of market it was) and there was everything from a porks head, fish (alive and dead dried) and the most exotic spiced you can think off. Further there were all kinds of tools, clothing and finally we also found a place that had a decent t-shirt for Martijn.
We also had a nice lunch somewhere there and after this we drove back to the hotel and there we split up. Manu went to the "Chat with Monks" and Martijn thought it was time to get a nice shave at the local barber, after which he chilled out near the pool in our Guesthouse. By the way, the guest house Smile is really good, we have a nice room, a good pool and the atmosphere is very good. They even offer to store your luggage on the last day and have a shower for you if you take the night train in the evening!! Manu's chat with the Monks was very intersting, she talked to two young monks (22 and 27).
After we were both back at the guesthouse we went to the night market, where we did some shop shop and had diner. This is really one big tourist trap and you can buy everything you need and especially don't need.
07:51 | damen Thailand No comments |
Today we went to the city of Ayutthaya, two hours by (slow) train from Bangkok and famous for it's temple ruins. We checked out quite early and got the normal train at 9h25, for the amazing price of 15 Bath per person. To get the feeling, we also bought some fresh fruit at the train station, which was 20 bath each for pineapple and papaya
After arriving in Ayutthaya after a good 2 hours we left our bagpacks at the station (every station has a cloak room and they are quite cheap and safe) and walked into the town. Even though we were warned it was amazingly hot and we first needed a break before entering the first temple grounds.
After a meal and freshly pressed juice we were ready and visited the first temple, where the famous image of the Buddha head in a tree can be seen. It was really amazing, so many (mostly damaged) stone buddhas were there. After this we took a TukTuk to a second temple, where they have a gigantic statue of Buddha, you'll see it later on the photo. We also visited the ruins where the remains of three kings are kept, all under very big grave monuments.
The last temple we visited was the one with the lying Buddha, which is about 15 meters long and rests on a Lotus. Impressive sights, I can tell you that.
The last thing we did in Ayutthaya was a boat tour around the city, which gave us a good view on the surrounding temples and how people live. The night bazaar was then the right place to have a good meal, and we both enjoyed our Noodle Soup very much. We were joined by some other tourists and had a nice chat, until we left for the stration to pick up our bags and continue the trip to Chiang Mai.
For this we took the night train, which was actually quite comfortable, but the airconditioning was again too much, so that we actually froze during the trip. But we managed to survive and made if safely to Chiang Mai.
After arriving in Chiang Mai we checked into our guesthouse "Smile Guesthouse" and took an hour or so to relax, enjoy the pool and read a bit. Then we gave our laundery to the house lady, shortly after which Martijn discovered that all his shirts were now gone
So this meant going into town and buy a t-shirt
Our guesthouse is actually very nice, we are having great luck with picking the places where we stay so far. The Smile Guesthouse has a pool, which offers a refreshing dip and our room is directly next to the pool. Also they have a nice terras where you can chill, read your book and enjoy a fresh fruit juice.
We took a room with aircon, but the nights here in Chiang Mai are so lovely cool that we really do not need it. Therefore we paid 700Bath a night, about 15 Euro. Next time we're here (yes, we are already sure we will come back) we'll take a normal fan room for 400Bath, so we can spend the money on the delicious food
Updated: Biking was cool and manu is also good again
15:36 | damen Thailand No comments |
In the afternoon Martijn went for a biking tour called "Colors of Bangkok" which was really very nice. It started in the south of Bangkok in a small neighbourhood where Andre, the Dutch guy who owns the biking tour operator, has his home. After a short introduction to the do's and dont's of Biking here we were on our way. The first ten minutes were still on a big road to get us started (interesting with all that traffic moving around you) but soon we moved off the main street in the smaller areas.
That said, very soon we came to very small streets, as we entered the slums of Bangkok. After going around many corners and taking cutoffs that really did not look like an alley (thank god we had a guide) we made a first stop at a little school in the middle of the slums, which is partly supported by the Dutch Embassy as well as the Biking company. The childeren up to the age of five were all taking a small nap, and they looked very peacefull.
After that we continued through the slums and sometimes over normal backstreet roads. One of the things we noticed was that directly next to the poor people there were the houses of the more wealthy. The guide also explained that this is normal in Bangkok, the rich don't mind living next to the pool and probably visa versa the same
We then made a stop next to the river, and while we drank our water the bikes were loaded onto a longtail boat and we crossed the river to a very green area called Garden of Bangkok.
Typical for this area were the small bridges which connected the houses, because most of the area was under water. Lots of banana trees and palm trees, and we were told that the area was used for coconut and banana farms. Then in the middle of this was a small park where we had the opportunity to feed some (couple of thousand big, fat) fish. After that we stopped for a meal at a very small restaurant next to the street where we got the good old Pat Thai noodles, Martijn had the ones with srimps.
The tour continues for another hour or so through the green area and then we took the boat again back to the Bangkok side of the river. Here we went straight back in the slums again and this time the alleys were so small that sometimes I thought I drove through someones garden.... but that was not the case, it was just their living room that we crossed
Not joking here!
After 4,5 hours and a good 25km we ended the tour again at the agency, where we also started. Very nice and very much recommendable! Because Manu did not had the change to participate she spend the afternoon at the pool and enjoyed a quiet afternoon, after which she was much better.
In the evening we strolled around the area next to KSR and when walking on the river side we found a very nice restaurant, which had some delicious food. Unfortunately the musquitos were also there so we did not want to be there too long. The night ended with a good oil massage for both of us, after which we slept very good.
Stay in Chiang Mai
04:44 | damen Thailand one comment |
Yes, again in the internet cafe to find out what a good place to stay in Chiang Mai is. As I wrote yesterday we have looked up the place the travel agent told us about and found only bad comments on it. So we searched the web and came up with some good places, the Chiang Mai Thai House
and Smile Guesthouse
. The Smile guesthouse provides both the normal guesthouse stuff as well as a so called Boutique Hotel, which is more luxerous and in a old teak house. Of course this is more expensive, but perhaps we just do that.
Further we will do our biking trip this afternoon, but unfortunately Manu is still a little bit ill, so perhaps she will just stay in the hotel and spend the afternoon at the pool while martijn is Biking through Bangkok
Then tomorrow we take the train to Ayutthaya, and after sightseeing the whole town we will take the night train from there to Chiang Mai.
17:57 | damen Thailand two comments |
Just a short update, as we have spent our first day sightseeing Bangkok.
After spending some more time on Khao San Road we have also booked the train to Chiang Mai. We were able to book a 2 person 1st class cabin for the way back on the 9th, but for the trip towards Chiang Mai we had to take the 2nd class, because it was already booked out. Somehow like the German ICE
The guy in the travel agency tried to get us to book a guesthouse and trekking tour also, but we decided to wait and check out the internet first if the place was any good (later it turned out that it was good we didn't book it because the comments on multiple sites were very bad.
After that we strolled towards the river and took the express boat to the famous Wat Pho temple. There we had a wonderfull guide who told us lots of information on Thailand, the history and of course their royalty. They really just love the royal familily. ثwe saw a lot of good stuff in there and after it we enjoyed a nice thai massage by official Wat Pho thai masseuses
After that is was back to KSR with a TukTuk to get our tickets. Unfortunately Manu got a headache due to the business of Bangkok, the heat or perhaps the massage. So after a quick (cheap) diner we went back to the Hotel and will continue tomorrow. Here just an impression of the day:
Arrived in Bangkok
08:11 | damen Thailand No comments |
After a long flight we finally arrived in Bangkok the other night.
Friday, November 2nd
Even though we prepared quite well we still got a little bit of stress on Friday because Martijn needed to get his pants fixed (he only got one pair of travel pants and it contained a hole) and somehow the only shop who could do that so quick was in Langwasser. But in the end we managed to get on the train in time and were on the way to Frankfurt International Airport.
In Frankfurt we were amazed, because we could check in our luggage almost directly within the train station, which saved us walking with the backpacks through the whole airport. But somehow the new Terminal is still quite a big construction site, the part where Ethihad was looked nice but not finished
The flight itself was very good, our travel agent somehow already booked the best seats in the plane and we managed it without too much stiffness to Abu Dhabi. There the airport was amazingly small, it contained of a kind of big Dome in the middle with all the gates organized around it. Martijn insisted on looking outside for a small bar to drink something, but there was not much there. But still, we went through customs and were outside in Abu Dhabi for about 10 minutes, after which we went in again (Yeah, Martijn just wanted to have the stamp in his passport!).
Saturday, November 3rd
The flight onward to Bangkok was also ok, but then it started to get a long trip. We arrived in Bangkok with a little delay around 7pm and decided to take a cab back to the hotel. Ok, it costs more than taking the air con bus, but it was nice to get in the Hotel quickly, get the bags of our shoulders and most important a shower
After we got fresh again we went into town, ok, not the real town but the surreal Khao San Road, which is just outside our Hotel. Manu still got to get used a bit that you don't need to bring your coat for an evening strall, and Martijn got indulged in the memories of 2001
We did most of it
We had Pad Thai noodles from a street booth, fresh Pineapple, fresh fruit juices and a Massage in the Massage booth known to insiders (Ronald, that one!). And it was clear again that you can spend your vacation on Khao San Road, enjoy it and never see anything of Thailand. After that we finally, even with the jet lag, were so tired that we went back to the Hotel and slept. Breakfast until 9:30am, so it was good to be in Bed around 11:30pm
Sunday, November 4th
Forget breakfast, we slept until 12:30 pm and then had to go to KSR for breakfast, which we did. In the Internet cafe we are writing this and got our confirmation for our Mountain Resort Hotel. If you take a look at our travel plan you'll see that we want to spend 4 nights in the mountains near Krabi from the 10th till the 13th of November. We just got message that we got a Room in the Phanom Bencha Mountain Resort
. They wrote it was still a bit wet over there, but we'll manage and see what kind of trekking tours we'll do. Now we have to find a travel agent to provide us with train tickets on the night train to Chiang Mai.
Any tips for Chiang Mai? Let us know in the comments!
15:37 | damen Thailand No comments |
Like it sais, everything is packed in two backpacks, we're dressed to go and are off by train to Frankfurt and from there to Thailand.
Check out our new Travel plan
, the stuff changed a bit